In the UK all the supermarkets compete with each other and a way they tempt people into the shop is to sell cheap Christmas vegetables. Most things are 15p each. I take advantage of this and buy enough vegetables to last me a many months as I can. They usually take me through to when my own early crops like Pak choi start growing. To do this I need to make sure that I store them well and check them regularly to make sure none have gone bad. I take them out of the plastic bags as soon as possible and this is is how I store them.
I don’t have a lot of room in my freezers to store shop bought vegetables, but if I do I blanch them first as this helps the them keep their colour and reduces bacteria. I prepare the vegetables like broccoli and sprouts as normal, and then place the vegetables into boiling water and let them boil for about 3 minutes. Afterwards I drain and them and plunge them into cold water to stop them cooking. Carrots and Swede I do the same but cook for about 5 minutes. Potatoes I blanch for 9 or 10 minutes. I make sure that they are totally cold before freezing.
I have bought lots of shallots this year as there were no onions in the promotions. My own onions from the garden have all gone now and so these will add taste to my meals. I have stored them in a large hessian sack. I am also going to pickle some.
I still have some potatoes growing in my greenhouse but they will only be small and so I picked the bags of potatoes with the largest potatoes in. We love baked potatoes and have some nearly every week. I have stored them in paper carrier bags inside a cardboard box (to keep the light from them) which I store in my cool conservatory. I am told that putting an apple in the box makes them last longer, but I have never tried it. I regularly check the potatoes as now and again one can go off and if left it will spoil the others.
Storing Broccoli and sprouts
Broccoli stores well in the fridge if it stood in a glass or jug of water. The stalk is great for casseroles and I slice and freeze it. I store sprouts in a glass container in the fridge, or in the inside cereal packet. Neither store for long (a couple of weeks) as so I usually freeze them.
Storing carrots and parsnips
I place these in a box of sand in my greenhouse and keep some in the fridge wrapped in a tea towel. We tend to store mostly carrots this way as they last longer than parsnips.
Cabbages and Swedes
I store these in wicker baskets under my kitchen island and they will keep in a vegetable rack as long as they get some air and it is fairly dark. They can last this way for up to 3 weeks. Once cut I store them in the fridge and have had them last another 2 or 3 weeks that way. I pickle red cabbages and that pads out my salads all spring and summer.
Do you have any hints for storing winter vegetables?